A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Fatness and Consequences of Neoliberalism (2021)

Harjunen, H. (2021). Fatness and Consequences of Neoliberalism. In C. Pausé, & S. R. Taylor (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Fat Studies (pp. 68-77). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003049401-11

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsHarjunen, Hannele

Parent publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Fat Studies

Parent publication editorsPausé, Cat; Taylor, Sonya Renee



Publication year2021

Publication date18/04/2021

Pages range68-77

Number of pages in the book294


Place of PublicationAbingdon

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78462


My aim in this chapter is to inspect how neoliberal economic policy and rationale are enmeshed with conceptions of body, gender and health in the contemporary (primarily Western) cultural sphere and how they have been addressed in research literature, particularly concerning fatness and the fat body. In recent years, the fat body has been and is a target of intensifying biopolitical control. My point of departure is that different elements of neoliberal culture have found something to latch onto and exploit in the concept of the fat body. Social institutions such as health care policies; or structures, such as health care systems; not to mention social, moral, and political orders of the day, all contribute to the conceptual (as well as physical) shaping of fat bodies. In the age of neoliberalism, even biopolitical control is neoliberally attuned (Lemke, 2001). I will present how neoliberalism has come to inform and steer our understanding of bodies, how we live in them, and the relationship we are supposed to enjoy with them. My goal here is twofold. I will look at the ways in which the fat body has been made intelligible in the broader context of neoliberal culture. Secondly, I am interested in the role of neoliberalism in moulding “acceptable” and “unacceptable”, healthy and unhealthy gendered bodies and subjects.

Keywordsobesityneoliberalismhealth policyvalues (conceptions)social normsself-leadershipcost effectivenessbiopoliticsintersectionality

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:16